Five steps to introducing a computerised maintenance solution to your team

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The introduction of computerised maintenance management systems can be daunting, even to the most seasoned teams. By Talmage Wagstaff.

Computerised maintenance management systems (CMMS) are a fundamental part of every branch of the industry today. This includes manufacturing, shipping, healthcare, and technology. Ensuring that your facility maintenance performs and is well documented is a responsibility you shouldn’t take lightly. The introduction of such vital systems can be daunting even to the most seasoned management teams.

When your facility has decided upon a CMMS, you now have a brand new software system, pre and post-implementation help, and a full task sheet for your project manager. Yet, it is very manageable, and many facilities of all sizes have done this transition for the improvement of their facilities. Here are five steps to successfully walk your maintenance team through an introduction to a CMMS.

1. Appoint a project manager

This is a fundamental part of implementing your CMMS. The CMMS project manager should be someone that is familiar with the maintenance processes in your facility. Many companies will assign this to the maintenance manager – but you should be careful when selecting. The CMMS project management role will be large and in-depth. The selected individual will need to dedicate a great deal of time to the role. Existing maintenance managers may struggle to fulfil the responsibilities that they were once tasked with.

Plant engineers and process engineers make great selections for this role. In addition to being familiar with plant maintenance procedures, they’re often tasked with project management and are familiar with the time management and process changes that are necessary. Ensure that the CMMS project manager gets the support they need from department heads. Everyone needs to be aware of how vital their role is in getting your facility to the next level in preventative and predictive maintenance

2. Lay out your nomenclature scheme and verify your asset drawings

Your facility probably has a parts numbering configuration that makes sense to your mechanics. Your asset numbers are also set up to make sense to your facility and those employed there. Such as ‘DT-1 is Dressing Tank number one, PP-32 is Production Pump number 32’. There is no reason to renumber and rename everything in your facility if it makes sense and is currently in place.

A key point to a functioning CMMS is ensuring that your assets are all accounted for and the information for them is accurate at the time you go live. This means that if you have any doubt at all about the extra digit in the part number on PP-32, walk to the location and verify the information that you have. This may save you the trouble down the road.

When you are preparing your data for migration, ensure that everything is correct right down to the last number on a spare parts list. If the input isn’t correct, it could take months or even years to locate and correct the error.

3. Data migration and manual entry

Try to ensure your CMMS purchase includes post-implementation partnerships, as well as data migration assistance. This is vital for many reasons. The top of the list is that if manual entry of your facility assets and records were necessary, who would have the time and resources to be able to complete such a task? Think of all of the work orders, purchase orders, and training records that exist in your facility at the moment. The manual entry of that data would be monumental, if at all possible at this point in your operations.

Often the packages will come with the help that you need to get your records transferred into the new system. And you can speak with your representative about the software that the CMMS is able to integrate with. With the right choice in CMMS and preparation for the transfer, there should be very little input. The project manager will be responsible for the records upload in the correct format, working with the IT department and CMMS software company to correct any issues.

4. Employee training and management

There is no substitute for adequate training. Ensuring that your team has software training should be your number one priority. As a maintenance manager, you may want to choose an employee from each shift to become an ‘expert’. This will help to cut the number of work orders and parts orders that aren’t completed because someone filling them out didn’t have the training necessary.

All CMMS training should be done by the software vendor, on-site if possible. It should also be performed on a PC. You should take into account that your employees will more than likely have varying experience with technology. Some may need more training than others. Training should be given at the level that is best for that employee to begin with, working up to efficient use of the system.

5. Going live and the ensuing audit plan

Once the CMMS goes live and maintenance staff is using the software for work orders, parts, and preventative maintenance, you now have the audit to perform. At the initial rollout, you should be prepared to audit the system in every module once every 30 days. After the initial six month period, you can audit every 90 days.

In-house audits not only find issues in the data, they also ensure that if there are problems that require retraining, they are quickly noticed so retraining can occur before there is a large amount of data to be manually corrected. Identifying staff retraining opportunities should be a priority in the initial rollout and audit schedule, as it is vital to the success of your CMMS implementation.

Talmage Wagstaff is co-founder and CEO of REDLIST.

Photo by Waldemar Brandt on Unsplash

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